HMS Iron Duke has emerged from a 16-month refit with a new look and greatly enhanced surveillance capability as the first warship to be equipped with the Type 997 air/surface search radar. The digital beamforming system, which makes it highly resistant to electronic jamming, can automatically detect and track up to 800 targets, ranging from ones as small as a tennis ball to large ships, at ranges of 200km, making it five times more powerful than its predecessor.

It is claimed to be particularly effective at detecting small and fast-moving targets in cluttered littoral environments and can even be used for air traffic management.

Formerly known as ARTISAN, the new 3D radar will replace the existing Type 996 throughout the fleet by 2016. In addition to being retrofitted in 12 other Type 23 frigates and the amphibious ships, Albion, Bulwark and Ocean, it will also be used to equip the upcoming Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and is slated for the future Type 26 frigates.

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